Since our founding in 1917, Pioneer Balloon Company has grown into an international company with a passion for sharing the magic and wonder of balloons across the globe.

2017 marks our 100th year in business. We are privileged to celebrate this rare milestone and look forward to making the next century of Pioneer’s history as dynamic as the last. We invite you to meet our leadership team, learn about our history and company culture, explore our products and programs, and view employment opportunities.  

Welcome to Pioneer Balloon Company.


Celebrating 100 Years
 

The Main Event

Before the World Balloon Convention (WBC), there was the International Balloon Arts Convention (IBAC). The first IBAC was held in 1984 in Canada.

Bouncing Back

In 1942, crude rubber was taken off the market in order to support the efforts of the U.S. military in WWII. The Qualatex® catalog featured above is from 1944 when balloon production finally resumed.

A Magazine with a Twist

Since Pioneer published its first issue of Balloon Magic — The Magazine (BMTM) more than 20 years ago, balloon twisters worldwide have looked to BMTM as the premier guide on balloon twisting.

On Target

Qualatex® was the preferred brand of balloons for many carnival workers because of their quality, as seen in this picture of a game operator in the late 1970s with his dart board of The Very Best™.

Taking Flight

Pioneer Microfoil® balloons are used for birthdays, corporate events, and everything in between, including children’s toys. In 1986, Pioneer released its foil balloon airship known as “Funship.”

One Cool Cat

In 1982, Qualatex® teamed up with artist Jim Davies to produce a picture book and balloon combo featuring everyone’s favorite lasagna loving-cat – Garfield.

Shaping Up

Pioneer rocked the world of balloons in 1994 with the introduction of GEO® Donuts and Blossoms. These revolutionary shapes offered infinite design and decor possibilities to balloon artists worldwide.

Thinking Outside the Box

In the mid-1950s at retail stores across America, customers who wanted Qualatex® would ask for “The balloons in the black box" featuring Qualatex’s iconic former mascot, Qualy the Clown.

A Nation-wide “Schmoovement”

Pioneer has long-produced balloons of popular licensed characters, such as cartoon satirist Al Capp’s creation of Shmoo. In 1948, Pioneer received an order for 1 million Shmoo-shaped balloons.

Knock on Wood

These original wooden balloon forms predate the 1930s. They are from Pioneer’s original Willard, Ohio, manufacturing plant established in 1918 when the company was known as Pioneer Rubber Company.

Flying High: Pioneer Balloon Company celebrates a cool century in business

In 1917, Pioneer Rubber Company opened its doors in Willard, Ohio, about 70 miles west of Akron, and began manufacturing various rubber products including latex gloves and balloons. The company grew by investing in engineering teams to advance its technologies and procedures to maximize quality and production efficiency. In 1970, Sherwood Medical Products, interested in Pioneer’s production of surgical and medical exam gloves, purchased Pioneer Rubber. But the balloon portion of the business was not in the new company’s wheelhouse and in 1979, Betty and Ted Vlamis acquired that part of the company and its 85 employees. The couple still owns Pioneer Balloon Company (PPAI 113823) and this year they are celebrating its centennial anniversary